In relation to maintaining an ongoing drug addiction problem, an addict would be hard pressed to be able to continue using drugs without the assistance of one or more enablers. A loved one who is in denial about a family member or coworker's substance abuse problem will often refuse to face the truth about the drug addiction problem; these are the types of individuals who are commonly referred to as enablers. These devoted loved ones will often rescue the person with the drug addiction problem from the consequences of their negative behavior by making excuses for some of the addict's irrational behavior. A person that is struggling with a drug addiction problem comes to expect the assistance of their loved ones that are enablers; when it comes to the point where compliance is not forthcoming, the enablers will often begin to experience the wrath of the person who has a drug addiction problem.
Below is a list of some of the most common forms of enabling:
Repeatedly bailing the person with the drug addiction problem out of jail, financial problems and various other different types of tight spots that they get themselves into is something that enablers will often do over and over again; the saddest thing about these so called "loving actions" is that they only prolong the loved one's substance abuse problem.
Trying to control the person with a drug addiction problem is not only impossible, but it has also proven to be a lesson in futility for many enablers. The old saying about" leading a horse to water, but not being able to make them drink" aptly describes what it must be like when enablers nag, plead, and make idles threats towards a person with a drug addiction problem in an attempt to make them stop using; unfortunately, all of this falls on an addicts deaf ears and is to no avail. In many instances, individuals that have struggled with a drug addiction problem have commonly reported that they would often respond to their enablers verbal rants by taking a higher dose of their drug of choice, in order to attempt to drown out their loved ones voices.
Taking the "if I can't beat them, I will join them approach" is common for some enablers that are dealing with a person with a drug addiction problem. As illogical as it appears to be on the surface, many enablers become worn down and will actually jump on the band wagon of the person with the drug addiction problem, and take a pill or smoke a joint with them. Needless to say, this approach is not only illogical, but this type of a response will often serve to justify the addict's substance abuse; furthermore, the person with the drug addiction problem will be sure to remind the enabler over and over again that they have also abused drugs.
Enablers will often go into agreement with the person with the drug addiction problem, when they blame others for their problems and misfortunes; this can only serve to prolong the addict's proverbial pity party, and keep them from finally taking responsibility for their drug addiction problem. Enablers often use this strategy as a way to try to connect with the person who is struggling with the drug addiction problem, but it will only serve to promote a victim mentality in the addict.
When enablers accept justifications, excuses and rationalizations that are offered up by a person who is struggling with a drug addiction problem, they are only helping to prolong the substance abuse problem. When an addict is able to get a loved one to go into agreement with them when they make statements such as "I only smoke weed because I am depressed", they are only ensuring that the person will feel justified about continuing to get high. The person with the drug addiction problem could legitimately suffer from depression, but rationalizing that abusing drugs is an effective solution to this problem is absurd.
Repeatedly coming to the aid of a person that is struggling with a drug addiction problem is a mistake that many enablers make; rescuing an addict only serves to help them to be comfortable in their addiction. A simple example of this is when an addict has their electricity cut off because they have used their money to purchase illicit drugs instead of paying their utilities; when enablers rush in to pay to have the lights back on, it robs the addict of the chance that they could have to sit in the dark as a consequence of using their bill money on drugs. When a person with a drug addiction problem is not given the opportunity to experience the negative effects that occur because of their poor behavioral choices, there is little reason for them to begin to make positive changes.
Completing tasks for a person with a drug addiction problem is also something that many enablers will do, so that their loved one does not have to experience the negative consequences of their repeated drug use; an example of this is when a parent finishes a science project for a high school student because they got drunk and passed out, rendering themselves unable to complete the task themselves. Although the enabler's deeds appear to be loving acts, they are often fear based; in the case of the parent completing the science project, they more than likely did this out of fear that their child would receive a failing grade.
It is important to recognize that the enabler's actions only serve to allow a person with a drug addiction problem to be able to continue in their destructive behavior patterns. This type of a passive approach by enablers is behavior that they have adopted because they are often intimidated by the addict. The best possible way for enablers to finally move away from this dysfunctional role of enabling, is to finally speak honestly and directly with their loved one about their drug addiction problem.